Like just about everyone else, we’ve cut back on eating out. But we still have to get our Chinese food fix somehow. Last night we satisfied our cravings with Lapchong & Shiitake Fried Rice and this Hot & Sour Soup.
Hot & Sour Soup
1 ounce dried wood ear mushrooms
½ ounce dried lily buds
1 tablespoon canola oil
6 ounces pork loin, cut into 2×¼×¼-inch strips
3 quarts chicken broth
1 8-ounce can bamboo shoot strips, drained
1 14-ounce package firm tofu, cut into 2×¼×¼-inch strips
¼ cup soy sauce
2 large eggs
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 ½ to 2 teaspoons freshly ground white pepper
¾ teaspoon dark sesame oil
½ cup sliced green onions
Combine the wood ears and 2 cups hot water in a small bowl and let soak for about 15 minutes, or until rehydrated and pliable. Remove the woods ears to a cutting board and julienne.
Combine the lily buds and ½ cup hot water in a small bowl and let soak for about 15 minutes, or until rehydrated and pliable. Drain the lily buds and shred lengthwise.
Heat a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add the canola oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pot. Add the pork and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Add the broth, bamboo shoots, tofu, soy sauce, wood ears, and lily buds. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until the flavors come together. Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl. Whisk together the cornstarch and ¼ cup water in another small bowl. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the soup and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until it thickens and comes back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and continue stirring slowly while adding the eggs in a thin stream. Stir in the rice vinegar, white pepper, and sesame oil and season to taste with salt. Ladle into individual bowls, top with plenty of green onions, and serve immediately.
Serves 10 to 12 as a first course. You can use more or less rice vinegar and white pepper to your taste. Dried wood ear mushrooms and dried lily buds, which are also known as golden needles, are available at Asian markets.